College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 3/4/21
College basketball's regular season is nearing a conclusion, and we have a four-game slate today.
March Madness is only a few weeks away, but you can get in all the college hoops hype by playing daily contests at FanDuel today. If you've played NBA DFS before, it's quite simple: pick a total of eight players -- four guards, three forwards, and one utility spot you can use for either position. Stay within the $50,000 salary cap and field the team you think will score the most fantasy points.
Where scoring differs from NBA is in the blocks and steals categories, with each worth two FanDuel points apiece rather than the three you get in NBA contests.
Now that you're in the know, we can attack today's slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
Relevant injury situations to monitor: Michigan Wolverines forward Isaiah Livers is questionable after sustaining a leg injury late in the team's last game. Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Isaac Likekele is questionable after missing the last two games. Arizona State Sun Devils forward Marcus Bagley is expected to be available while guard Josh Christopher is questionable.
All stats come from KenPom unless otherwise noted.
McKinley Wright IV, Colorado ($7,600) - The one variable that has capped Wright's ceiling is that he'll lose significant minutes from time-to-time. However, that's changed recently and it's hard to find a player playing better at this moment than Wright IV. Wright IV is averaging 35.8 minutes per game over the last four games (up from his seasonal average of 32.5 minutes per game). He's cleared 42 FanDuel points in each of the last two games. His stellar play figures to continue as the Buffaloes host the fast-paced and defensive-deficient Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils rank 24th in tempo nationally and 140th in defense. Cade Cunningham ($8,200) and Austin Reaves ($8,000) are both good plays despite tough their tough matchups.
Jared Butler, Baylor ($7,500) - Butler is a fun player to target because he's actively involved on both ends of the court. The Baylor Bears floor general has a 26.8% usage rate (leads team), 26.9% shot rate (percentage of the team's shots by the player when the player is on the floor), 10.8% defensive rebounding rate, 28.8% assist rate (leads team), and 4.2% steal rate (leads team). Further enhancing Butler's outlook is a pace-up game for the Bears. Their opponent, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, rank 43rd in tempo nationally while Baylor checks in at 187th. Teammate Davion Mitchell ($7,200) is a good option as well.
Franz Wagner, Michigan ($7,400) - I'm expecting Wagner to bounce back after an awful outing against Illinois Fighting Illini on Tuesday night. A few different Wolverines mentioned that some of the players were possibly looking past Illinois and towards the rivalry game with the Michigan State Spartans. Anyway, Wagner has the ability to contribute in every major statistical category. While his usage rate isn't quite as high as we'd like (19.1%), he makes up for it as he's extremely efficient (effective field goal percentage of 57.8%) on the offensive end. Additionally, the sophomore is posting a stellar 19.4% defensive rebounding rate, 17.1% assist rate, 3.3% block rate, and 2.6% steal rate.
Eli Brooks, Michigan ($4,900) - The primary appeal to Brooks is that he plays a ton of minutes. The senior is averaging 33.0 minutes over the last five games. He's averaging .60 FanDuel points per minute. At that production level, he should pay off his salary in 32.6 minutes (assuming value is 4x of a player's salary). He'd likely be asked to play 35-plus minutes if Isaiah Livers sits out. Umoja Gibson ($5,500) is worth a look, albeit with a slightly higher salary.
Elijah Harkless, Oklahoma ($4,700) - While his usage rate isn't great (18.4%), the freshman does have a strong 17.9% defensive rebounding rate and 3.9% steal rate. He's an effective ball distributor too (14.0% assist rate). Harkless is a viable source of salary relief since he's basically guaranteed to be on the court for 30-plus minutes (played at least 30 minutes in 8 consecutive games). Additionally, Harkless has cleared 20 FanDuel points in 9 out of the last 11 games.
Bryce Williams, Oklahoma State ($4,600) - This play is contingent on Isaac Likekele sitting out. If Likekele is out, Williams will likely be thrust into a massive role for the third straight game. Over the last two games, Williams is averaging 14.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks/steals in 36.5 minutes (one game went to overtime). Mike Smith ($4,700) is worth consideration as a source of salary relief. Additionally, Chaundee Brown Jr. ($4,500) would be a great source of salary if Isaiah Livers is forced to sit out.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Rondel Walker, D'Shawn Schwartz, Mike Smith, Chaundee Brown Jr. (only if Isaiah Livers is out), Holland Woods (only if Josh Christopher is out), and Matthew Mayer.
Aaron Henry, Michigan State ($8,100) - Henry provides a safe floor despite a tough matchup with Michigan (fourth-ranked defense nationally). Michigan State has figured out their best chance at winning games is to play Henry as much as possible (36-plus minutes in four out of the last five games). Henry hasn't been afraid to pull the trigger either as he's attempted 16-plus shot attempts in four of the last five games. He's also a threat to rack up the defensive stats as he is posting a 14.1% defensive rebounding rate and a 4.4% block rate. His 25.6% assist rate ranks second amongst all Spartans.
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan ($7,500) - Dickinson's playing time has been depressed as of late. However, he catches a Michigan State team that has allowed some monster box scores to opposing centers like Penn State's John Harrar (17 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists), Purdue's Trevion Williams (28 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists), and Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis (34 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists). Additionally, he may see extended run if Isaiah Livers is limited or unable to suit up. Regardless, Dickinson is a fine play with a monster ceiling. He's averaging an eye-popping 1.05 FanDuel points per minute this season. If Isaiah Livers ($7,000) is available, he's a fine option.
Jeriah Horne, Colorado ($5,400) - Horne has played extremely well as of late for the surging Colorado Buffaloes. Over the last four games, the senior is averaging 13.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 23.8 minutes. As noted above, this is a juicy spot to target the Colorado Buffaloes. Frontcourt mate Evan Battey ($4,900) is a fine source of salary relief. Additionally, I wouldn't roster Jabari Walker ($4,400) if you're only playing a few lineups. However, he's worth consideration if you're playing multiple tournament lineups. Walker was seeing his playing time rise prior to sustaining an injury that kept him out of action for a while. If his playing time rises (returned from injury two games ago), he could rack up a solid amount of FanDuel points and will come with almost no rostership in tournaments (averaging 1.07 FanDuel points per minute). Kalib Boone ($5,700) is in a tough matchup but he has a massive ceiling and makes for an interesting tournament option.
Brady Manek, Oklahoma ($5,200) - Manek has struggled for most of the season. However, he looked like his old self in Oklahoma's close loss on Tuesday to Oklahoma State. Manek exploded for 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals in 38 minutes (season-high) for 40.8 FanDuel points. If he's truly back to the form he displayed last season, he's heavily under-salaried. I have a feeling he'll be popular after that outing, which dampens his appeal in tournaments. Greg Brown ($5,100) makes for an interesting pivot off Manek in tournaments. Brown has struggled lately but he's a bona-fide future NBA player. He leads the Texas Longhorns with a 26.2% usage rate.
Other players to consider for salary relief ($5,000 or less): Evan Battey, Jericho Sims, Gabe Brown, and Jabari Walker.
Matthew Hiatt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Hiatt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username easternmh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.